Wednesday, January 30th: We had a few hours to kill in the morning before getting shipped to the airport, so we walked into downtown for a bit of shopping and sightseeing shenanigans and shin-diggery.
The winds were calmer today –still biting—but I didn’t need to wear a scarf. There were only a few whitecaps, but I think the wind was generally confused – well, either it or me… and I’m never confused. Within about 50 paces down one stretch of sidewalk the wind blew from the left, then the front and blow my hood off, then the right, and then from the back and blew my hood back on and proceeded to push me along the sidewalk. It was indeed confusing. None of the locals wear hats or hoods. I think they’re tired of being confused.
We went in the Harpa, which is an awesome concert hall/foyer/and-some-study-rooms sort of place. The architecture in there is very creative in terms of depthiness and perspective, and the ceiling is mirrors. I suggest you quickly google image search “Harpa.” We walked around town blah blah.
Mumsy wanted to find a Christmas ornament. We searched all trip to find one, and when she finally did, we literally walked out of the shop and saw “The Christmas Shop” two doors down. Irony and such. It was worth a laugh.
We got fish and chips at a place that turned out to be all organic. We had “tusk” and “wolf fish.” They were fish (insert fish pun). I tried their homemade soda concoction of ginger, lemon, agave nectar, and some herb. It was very tart. Organic = no sugar.
It was very windy on the walk back that we were actually blown around a bit by it. Mumsy joked that there should be a net on the edge of town that catches all the people as they get blown off the sidewalks.
I’m tired so I’ll wrap this up here. (I can only imagine how you feel after slugging your eyes through this verbal swam of thickly sticky mud.)
We got in a shuttle that took us to another shuttle that took us to a plane that took us to Seattle where I parted ways with mumsy and headed back to lalaland to be thrown back into the real world, and the rest, as They say, is history in the making. However cheezy it may sound, whenever I feel lost without my possessions, couldn’t see what I was hoping to see, or if the wind simply gets too strong and knocks me over, I can always look back onto trips like this and let the net catch me, knowing everything works out.
…which is a horrible moral for a story, but whatever.
Monday, January 28th: Our bags came. Yay! Now Curtis finally gets to wear shoes!
I suppose before going any farther I should make a few observations, or rather, state some trivia. 129 ISK (Icelandic Krona) is worth 1 USD, so 1000 ISK is just under $8, and 1.300 is about $10 (decimals are commas and commas are decimals, which I guess wouldn’t make them decimals, but kilomals or something. And I supposed commas would just be comicals. *slapping the knee*) Names beginning with the letter “C” are not recognized by the Elvish government, and are technically ‘illegal names’ because the letter “C” isn’t in the Elvish alphabet. If I was an Elf I would have to change my name to Kurtis. It kind of makes sense. The letter “c” kan always be replaste by an /s/, a /k/, or another gnu letter that makes the /ch/ sound… which phonetikally is really just the /sh/ sound with a quik /t/ in front of it. “Tshoo-tshoo goes the tshrain.”
The Elvish phonebook lists people by their first names. The sun rises in the SE, gets up to about two hands, and sets in the SW. And that’s plenty for now.
We broke fast with granola that you could put yoghurt, strawberry goop, apple goop, or figgy goop on, bread, cheese, hard boiled eggs, and ham; all cold. Knowing me, I made an Egg McGhetto and put the ham, egg, and cheese on the bread and consumed it suchly. The winds whipped white caps up from the bay, but the sun rose and calmed the weather a bit and we ventured by foot into Reykjavik.
The language is strange, and if you weren’t paying attention, sounds a lot like Dutch with some Russian sprinkled in. I thought about learning some, but gave up quickly after seeing the words “viðbjóðslegur” and “sérstærðarfarangur.” We walked towards Hallgrímskirkja, which is the big landmark in Reykjavik. It’s a church named after some guy named Hallgríms or something. I’ve seen quite a few cathedrals and churches now, and the one thing that set this apart, besides its modern appearance on the outside, was how plain it was on the inside. It was tall and vast and grand as could be, but they weren’t trying to show off, which was refreshing. The outside of the church paid tribute to the landscape by mimicking lava columns, where lava cools in hex/pentagon pillars (Devil’s Tower in Wyoming has the same columns), and the inside, at least in my opinion, paid tribute to the personality of the elves; open, welcoming, and down to earth.
Outside we tried to take a statue of the picture of Leif Eriksson, but a film crew whistled and yelled and told us to get out of the way. Spoiler alert: if you watch Top Gear, they’ll have an episode involving Iceland and three huge old all-terrain trucks.
We headed down good ol’ Skólavör¬ðustígur street down to a popular flea market, but apparently it’s only open on weekends. The wind was making my face cold so I got a souvenir scarf to wrap my head area in. We sought out the ‘famous hotdog stand,’ which was just a plain hotdog with some unknown Elvish sauce on it. Their claim to fame is that Bill Clinton ate a hotdog there once. It was good, but quite honestly Costco hotdogs are way better. The shops had really cool fur things though. If I had money to just burn and throw away, I’d use that money to buy furry Elf slippers. But after all – ‘what do I know about wearing the fur fox?’
We hopped a bus over to the other side of town (2 miles away—honestly, Bellevue’s bigger than Reykjavik) and walked on the icy paths to the local zoo. The sign said “HÚSDÝRAGARÐUR-FJÖLSKLDUGARÐUR.” Mumsy joked and said it translates to “zoo.” I laughed. However silly, she might be right. All the words and names for stuff are hellishly long around here. She said it’s an island, like Hawaii, where they have long names that sound cool because they have lots of time to talk. And they’re on ‘island time,’ like the sun, and get up late and go to bed early.
I suppose Iceland and Hawaii do have a bit in common. Both are islands formed by “hotspots” in the earth’s crust, where the earth essentially leaks lava from one spot, and new islands start popping up as the tectonic plates move. That’s why Hawaii is a trail of islands, and that’s why a new island formed off the coast of Iceland in 2010 or whenever that happened. I don’t know how Hawaii was discovered, but Iceland was discovered twice by two separate Vikings who accidentally drifted into it. the third guy went there on purpose and called it “snowland,” but left. The fourth guy went there to settle, and called it “Iceland” because he saw ice floating near the land… true story. Vikings weren’t known throughout history for being creative; they just went around claiming things.
We walked back to our room via good ol’ Kringlumýrarbraut street and took a brief nap before trying some exquisite Elvish cuisine. Cab fair is a bit pricey because gas is 2,58 ISK/liter, and if you’re keeping track at home, that’s roughly $7.68/gallon. The restaurant was called “3 Fakkar,” which I thought meant “3 friars” because the print ad had 3 friars on it, but when we walked in the menus had pictures of 3 guys in trench coats and seemed to use the character Rick from Casablanca as their mascot; so I didn’t know what to think. On the walls they had trophies of just about everything on the menu except for whale. That would be ridiculous. Some of the options of animals to eat were cod, halibutt (<–heehee. I said butt), salmon, shark, “wild seabirds,” puffin, whale, reindeer, lamb, and horse. So basically just about everything at the zoo was on the menu–Oh! I forgot to mention the zoo:
We saw animals. There were some pretty chill seals and two almost identical foxes; except one was snowy white and the other black like cooled lava. At first we only saw snow fox with its cute round fluffy face, but it quickly hid. We were turning away until I saw lava fox trotting towards us out the corner of my eye. It looked really curious and social, like it wanted to talk to us, probably because its camouflage is so good no one hardly ever notices it; everyone is drawn to snow fox instead. I wonder how many times people chase after snow fox because it’s beauty is easier to see, and don’t even notice the equally magnificent lava fox standing right in front of them? But enough about my personal life—back to dinner!
Mumsy chose the whale steak with pepper sauce, and I the wild sea birds with game sauce. They were delicious. We even had puffin as an appetizer. The meat is maroon colored. With mumsy’s wealth of knowledge she said it must be rich in iron. We figured the elves eat all these strange animals because what else are you going to eat on the island? There ain’t many choices. Even their potatoes are only bite-sized.
For dessert was Skyr brule, like crème brule with yoghurt, and a little fruit called a cape gooseberry, which ornamented a dollop of whooping cream. The berry was most intriguing having the size and bite of a grape, the leaves of a turnip sprouting from its top (possibly grown underground), the texture and color of a tomato, and the taste of the ripest kiwi with a bit of citrus. A very confused and contradictory berry… maybe it was adopted.
Back at the hotel we saw a post notifying today’s tour group that the northern lights tour was cancelled due to weather. We originally were going to go on our tour today, but changed to tomorrow because we didn’t know if we’d have shoes and coats.
On a quick side note, why is “þ” a letter? Let’s there’s the word “þear.” I want to read either “bear” or “pear,” but in Elvish it would be pronounced “thair.” This language is devilishly confusing.